A brigandine is a form of body armour from the Middle Ages. It is a garment heavy cloth, canvas or leather, lined with small oblong steel plates riveted to the fabric. Protective clothing and armour have been used by armies from earliest recorded history. Medieval brigandines were a refinement of the earlier coat of plates, which developed in the late 12th century of simpler construction made of larger plates; the Asian-originated armour reached Europe after the Mongol invasion in 1240 that destroyed the Kievan Rus' and generated extensive damage to the Kingdom of Hungary in 1241. The new armour became popular first in Eastern Europe in Hungary, towards the end of the 13th century and after having proved effective was adopted by the medieval states from West Europe several decades later. Brigandines first appeared towards the end of the 14th century, but survived beyond this transitional period between mail and plate, came into wide use in the 15th century, remaining in use well into the 16th.
15th century brigandines are front-opening garments with the nails arranged in triangular groups of three, while 16th century brigandines have smaller plates with the rivets arranged in rows. The brigandine has been confused with the haubergeon, while the name is confused with the brigantine, a swift small sea vessel; the form of the brigandine is the same as the civilian doublet, though it is sleeveless. However, depictions of brigandine armour with sleeves are known; the small armour plates were sometimes riveted between two layers of stout cloth, or just to an outer layer. Unlike armour for the torso made from large plates, the brigandine was flexible, with a degree of movement between each of the overlapping plates. Many brigandines appear to have had larger, somewhat'L-shaped' plates over the central chest area; the rivets, or nails, attaching the plates to the fabric were decorated, being gilt, or of latten, sometimes embossed with a design. The rivets were often grouped to produce a repeating decorative pattern.
In more expensive brigandines the outer layer of cloth was of velvet. The contrast between a richly dyed velvet cloth and gilded rivet heads must have been impressive and, such armour was popular with high status individuals. Modern flak jackets and ballistic vests are based on the same principle: a protective cloth vest containing metal plates, it was worn over a gambeson and mail shirt and it was not long before this form of protection was used by soldiers ranging in rank from archers to knights. It was most used by men-at-arms; these wore brigandine, along with leg protection, as well as a helmet. With the gambeson and the mail shirt, a wearer was not as well protected as when wearing plate armour. However, the brigandine was favored by soldiers who preferred the greater degree of mobility this armour afforded. Brigandines were simple enough in design for a soldier to make and repair his own armour without needing the high skill of an armourer. A common myth is that brigandines were so-named because they were a popular choice of protection for bandits and outlaws.
This is untrue. The term "brigand" referred to a foot soldier. A brigandine was a type of armour worn by a foot soldier, it had nothing to do with its alleged ability to be concealed by bandits. In fact, brigandines were fashionable and were ostentatiously displayed by wealthy aristocrats both in European and in Asian courts. A similar type of armour was the jack of plates or coat of plates referred to as a "jack"; this type of armour was used by common Medieval European soldiers and the rebel peasants known as Jacquerie. Like the brigandine, the jack was made of small iron plates between layers of canvas; the main difference is in the method of construction: a brigandine is riveted whereas a jack is sewn. Jacks were made from recycled pieces of older plate armour, including damaged brigandines and cuirasses cut into small squares. Jack remained in use as late as the 16th century and was worn by Scottish Border Reivers. Although they were obsolete by the time of the English Civil War many were taken to the New World by the Pilgrim Fathers as they provided excellent protection from Indian arrows.
The Indian equivalent of the brigandine was the Chihal'Ta Hazar Masha, or "coat of ten thousand nails": a padded leather jacket covered in velvet and containing steel plates, used until the early 19th century. The skirt was split to the waist. Matching vambraces and boots containing metal plates were used, it was derived from Islamic armour used by the Saracen armies. These were elaborately decorated with gold lace and satin and are prized by European collectors. Tipu Sultan wore armour of this type during his wars against the East India Company; the Turks used similar armour during the Russo-Turkish Wars. Two complete suits of armour are preserved in Saint Petersburg. A type of armour similar in design to brigandine, known as dingjia, was used in medieval China, it consisted of rectangular plates of metal, riveted between the fabric layers with the securing rivet heads visible on the outside. Russian orientalist and weapon expert Mikhail Gorelik states that it was invented in the 8th century as parade armour for the Emperor's guards by reinforcing a thick cloth robe with overlapping iron plates, b
Guntō is a Japanese sword produced for use by the Japanese army and navy after the end of the samurai era in 1868. In the following era, samurai armour and ideals were replaced with Western-influenced uniforms and tactics. Japan developed a conscription military in 1872 and the samurai lost the status they had held for hundreds of years as the protectors of Japan; the transition from hand-made blades to machined-assisted creations was hastening. Early in the production of guntō swords and artistic additions continued, but fell into heavy decline following Japan-wide increases in mass production. Thus, guntō swords became the standard in the new military, transitioning the swords worn by the samurai class to an advancing battlefield. During the Meiji period, the samurai class was disbanded, the Haitōrei Edict in 1876 forbade the carrying of swords in public except for certain individuals such as former samurai lords, the military and police. Skilled swordsmiths had trouble making a living during this period as Japan modernized its military and many swordsmiths started making other items such as cutlery.
Military action by Japan in China and Russia during the Meiji Period helped revive the manufacture of swords and in the Shōwa period before and during World War II swords were once again produced on a large scale. During the pre World War II military buildup and throughout the war, all Japanese officers were required to wear a sword. Traditionally made swords were produced during this period but, in order to supply such large numbers of swords, blacksmiths with little or no knowledge of traditional Japanese sword manufacture were recruited. In addition, supplies of the type of Japanese steel used for sword making were limited so several other types of steel were substituted. Shortcuts in forging were taken, such as the use of power hammers and tempering the blade in oil rather than hand forging and water tempering; the non-traditionally made swords from this period are called Shōwatō and, in 1937, the Japanese government started requiring the use of special stamps on the tang to distinguish these swords from traditionally made swords.
During this wartime period antique swords from older time periods were remounted for use in military mounts. Presently in Japan showato are not considered to be true Japanese swords and they can be confiscated; the first standard sword of the Japanese military was known as the kyū guntō. Murata Tsuneyoshi, a Japanese general who made guns, started making what was the first mass-produced substitute for traditionally made samurai swords; these swords are referred to as Murata-tō and they were used in both the Sino-Japanese War and the Russo-Japanese War. The kyū guntō was used from 1875 until 1934, many styles resembled European and American swords of the time, with a wraparound hand guard and chrome plated scabbard, the steel scabbard is said to have been introduced around 1900. Prior to 1945, many kyū guntō were distributed to commissioned officers to fill a demand for swords to Japan's expanding military officer classes. To distinguish individuality, wealth or craftsmanship, many swords were produced in batches as small as 1–25 to maintain the legacy of sword culture.
Styles varied with inspirations drawn from swords of early periods, familial crests, experimental artistic forms that the Meiji Restoration period had begun to introduce. Some examples have included European style silverworking, cloisonné, or metalwork and paint for artistic relief. After the Second World War's conclusion, most produced guntō were made to resemble the traditionally cloth wrapped shin-gunto swords, but out of a solid metal casting. On models the hilts were made of aluminum and painted to resemble the lacing on officer's shin-guntō swords; these swords are nearly always machine made. If the sword is all original, the serial numbers on the blade, tsuba and all other parts should match; the shin guntō was a weapon and symbol of rank used by the Imperial Japanese Army between the years of 1935 and 1945. During most of that period, the swords were manufactured at the Toyokawa Naval Arsenal. In response to rising nationalism within the armed forces, a new style of sword was designed for the Japanese military in 1934.
The shin guntō was styled after a traditional slung tachi of the Kamakura Period. Officers' ranks were indicated by coloured tassels tied to a loop at the end of the hilt; the corresponding colors were gold for generals. The blades found in shin guntō ranged from modern machine made blades through contemporary traditionally-manufactured blades to ancestral blades dating back hundreds of years; the Type 94 shin guntō officers' sword replaced the Western style kyu gunto in 1934. It had a traditionally constructed hilt with ray skin wrapped with traditional silk wrapping. A cherry blossom theme was incorporated into the guard and ornaments; the scabbard for the Type 94 was made of metal with a wood lining to protect the blade. It was painted brown and was suspended from two brass mounts, one of, removable and only used when in full dress u
Auxiliary armour (Japan)
Auxiliary armour in a set of Japanese armour are optional pieces worn by the samurai class of feudal Japan in addition to the traditional six armour components. The six major articles or components of Japanese armour are the dou or dō, mengu, sune-ate, the hai-date. Additional armour protection was available for the neck, chest and feet; these auxiliary armours covered areas of the body that were exposed by gaps in the regular armour items or were additional protection was required. Wakibiki are simple rectangles of cloth covered with karuta, or kikko; these iron or leather armours or a combination of them were sewn to the cloth backing. Wakibiki could be made from one solid piece of iron or hardened leather; the wakibiki had cords connected to them which allowed the wakibiki to hang from the shoulder, the wakibiki was suspended over the exposed arm pit area. Wakibiki were worn inside on the outside depending on the type. Manju no wa, are a combination of shoulder pads and armpit guards in one that protected the upper chest area.
Manju no wa were covered with different types of armour including kusari, karuta, or kikko, these iron or leather armours or a combination of them were sewn to a cloth backing. The armour could be hidden between a layer of cloth; when worn the manju no wa looked like a small tight fitting vest. Manju no wa have small wings that would pass under the arm pit area from the back and attach to the front of the manju no wa with a button, toggle or ties. Manchira are a type of armoured vest covered with different types of armour including kusari, karuta, or kikko, these iron or leather armours or a combination of them were sewn to a cloth backing; the armour could be hidden between a layer of cloth. Manchira are larger than manju no wa and protected the chest area and sometimes the neck and arm pit; some manchira could be worn over the chest armour dou. Tate-eri are small padded pillow like pieces with a standing armoured collar that sits on the shoulder to protect from the weight of the breastplate or cuirass.
The standing collar would be lined with kikko armour to protect the neck. Kōgake are various types of armoured socks that could cover just the top of the foot or be worn as a shoe or slipper. Kōgake could be covered with chainmail. Nodowa and guruwa are similar types of neck protection, the nodowa would be tied around the back of the neck and the guruwa wrapped around the neck. Japanese armour Examination and restoration of an antique Japanese manchira Anthony Bryant's web site. Pattern from Anthony Bryants web site
Tokyo National Museum
The Tokyo National Museum, or TNM, established in 1872, is the oldest Japanese national museum, the largest art museum in Japan and one of the largest art museums in the world. The museum collects and preserves a comprehensive collection of art works and archaeological objects of Asia, focusing on Japan; the museum holds over 110,000 objects, which includes 87 Japanese National Treasure holdings and 610 Important Cultural Property holdings. The museum conducts research and organizes educational events related to its collection; the museum is located inside Ueno Park in Tokyo. The facilities consist of the Honkan, Tōyōkan, Hyōkeikan, Heiseikan, Hōryū-ji Hōmotsukan, as well as Shiryōkan, other facilities. There are restaurants and shops within the museum's premises, as well as outdoor exhibitions and a garden where visitors can enjoy seasonal views; the museum's collections focus on Asian art along the Silk Road. There is a large collection of Greco-Buddhist art; the museum came into being in 1872, when the first exhibition was held by the Museum Department of the Ministry of Education at the Taiseiden Hall.
This marked the inauguration of the first museum in Japan. Soon after the opening, the museum moved to Uchiyamashita-cho in 1882 moved again to the Ueno Park, where it stands today. Since its establishment, the museum has experienced major challenges such as the Great Kantō earthquake in 1923, a temporary closing in 1945, during World War II. In more than the 120 years of its history, the museum has gone under much evolution and transformation through organizational reforms and administrative change; the museum went through several name changes, being called the Imperial Museum in 1886 and the Tokyo Imperial Household Museum in 1900, until it was given its present title in 1947. The growth and development of today's museum has been an evolving process: 1872—The Ministry of Education holds the first public exhibition in Japan at the Taiseiden Hall of the former Seido at Bunkyō special ward of Tokyo. 1875—The Ministry of Interior accepts responsibility for Museum collections which are divided into eight categories: nature, agriculture & forestry, fine art, education and land & sea.
1882—The museum was moves to its present location, a site occupied by the headquarters of the Kan'ei-ji Temple in Ueno. 1889—The Imperial Household Ministry accepts control of Museum collections, the institution is renamed the "Imperial Museum". 1900—The museum is renamed "Tokyo Imperial Household Museum". 1923—The museum's main building is damaged in the Great Kantō earthquake of 1923. 1925—Objects in the Nature division are transferred to the "Tokyo Museum of the Ministry of Education", now renamed the "National Science Museum." 1938—The museum's new main building is opened. 1947—The Ministry of Education accepts responsibility for Museum collections. 1978—The Hyokeikan building is designated an "Important Cultural Property". 1999—The "Gallery of Hōryū-ji Treasures" and the "Heisei-kan" buildings are opened. 2001—The museum is renamed "Tokyo National Museum" of the "Independent Administrative Institution National Museum". 2001—The Hon-kan building is designated an "Important Cultural Property".
2005—The IAI National Museum is expanded with addition of Kyushu National Museum. 2007—The IAI National Museum is merged into the Independent Administrative Institution National Institutes for Cultural Heritage, combining the four national museums with the former National Institutes for Cultural Preservation at Tokyo and Nara The original main building was designed by the British architect Josiah Conder. It was damaged in the Great Kantō earthquake of 1923. In contrast to the original building's more Western style, the design of the present main building by Hitoshi Watanabe is the more nativist Imperial Crown style. Construction began in 1932, the building was inaugurated in 1938, it was designated an Important Cultural Property of Japan in 2001. The Japanese Gallery provides a general view of Japanese art, containing 24 exhibition rooms on two floors, it consists of exhibitions from 10,000 BC up to the late 19th century, exhibitions of different types of art such as ceramics, sculpture and others.
The 1st room – The 10th room: The title is "The flow of Japanese art". It interlaces theme exhibitions such as "Art of Buddhism", "Art of Tea ceremony", "The clothing of Samurai", "Noh and Kabuki", etc. One national treasure object is exhibited by turns every time in the 2nd room as "The national treasure room"; the 11th room – The 20th room: There are exhibition rooms according to the genres such as Sculpture, Pottery, Katana, Ethnic material, Historic material, Modern art, etc. The extra exhibition rooms: There are small exhibition rooms where planning such as "new objects exhibitions"; the extra room: This is an event meeting place for children. This building was designed by Yoshirō Taniguchi; this is a three-storied building. Because there are large floors arranged in a spiral ascending from the 1st floor along the mezzanines to the 3rd floor, many stairs, it has been made huge colonnade air space to reach from the first floor to the third floor ceiling inside, placement of an exhibition room is complicated.
There is a restaurant and museum shop on the
The Genpei War was a national civil war between the Taira and Minamoto clans during the late-Heian period of Japan. It resulted in the downfall of the Taira and the establishment of the Kamakura shogunate under Minamoto no Yoritomo in 1192; the name "Genpei" comes from alternate readings of the kanji "Minamoto" and "Taira". The conflict is known in Japanese as the Jishō-Juei War, after the two Imperial eras between which it took place, it followed a coup d'état by the Taira in 1179 with the removal of rivals from all government posts, subsequently banishing them, a call to arms against them, led by the Minamoto in 1180. The ensuing battle of Uji took place just outside Kyoto, starting a five-year-long war, concluding with a decisive Minamoto victory in the naval battle of Dan-no-ura; the Genpei War was the culmination of a decades-long conflict between the two aforementioned clans over dominance of the Imperial court, by extension, control of Japan. In the Hōgen Rebellion and in the Heiji Rebellion of earlier decades, the Minamoto attempted to regain control from the Taira and failed.
In 1180, Taira no Kiyomori put his grandson Antoku on the throne after the abdication of Emperor Takakura. Emperor Go-Shirakawa's son Mochihito felt that he was being denied his rightful place on the throne and, with the help of Minamoto no Yorimasa, sent out a call to arms to the Minamoto clan and Buddhist monasteries in May. However, this plot ended with the deaths of Mochihito. In June 1180, Kiyomori moved the seat of imperial power to Fukuhara-kyō, "his immediate objective seems to have been to get the royal family under his close charge." The actions of Taira no Kiyomori having deepened Minamoto hatred for the Taira clan, a call for arms was sent up by Minamoto no Yorimasa and Prince Mochihito. Not knowing, behind this rally, Kiyomori called for the arrest of Mochihito, who sought protection at the temple of Mii-dera; the Mii-dera monks were unable to ensure him sufficient protection, so he was forced to move along. He was chased by Taira forces to the Byōdō-in, just outside Kyoto; the war began thus, with a dramatic encounter around the bridge over the River Uji.
This battle ended in Yorimasa's ritual suicide inside the Byōdō-in and Mochihito's capture and execution shortly afterwards. It was at this point that Minamoto no Yoritomo took over leadership of the Minamoto clan and began traveling the country seeking to rendezvous with allies. Leaving Izu Province and heading for the Hakone Pass, he was defeated by the Taira in the battle of Ishibashiyama; however he made it to the provinces of Kai and Kōzuke, where the Takeda and other friendly families helped repel the Taira army. Meanwhile, seeking vengeance against the Mii-dera monks and others, besieged Nara and burnt much of the city to the ground. Fighting continued the following year, 1181. Minamoto no Yukiie was defeated by a force led by Taira no Shigehira at the Battle of Sunomatagawa. However, the "Taira could not follow up their victory."Taira no Kiyomori died from illness in the spring of 1181, around the same time Japan began to suffer from a famine, to last through the following year. The Taira moved to attack Minamoto no Yoshinaka, a cousin of Yoritomo who had raised forces in the north, but were unsuccessful.
For nearly two years, the war ceased, only to resume in the spring of 1183. In 1183, the Taira loss at the Battle of Kurikara was so severe that they found themselves, several months under siege in Kyoto, with Yoshinaka approaching the city from the north and Yukiie from the east. Both Minamoto leaders had seen little or no opposition in marching to the capital and now forced the Taira to flee the city. Taira no Munemori, head of the clan since his father Kiyomori's death, led his army, along with the young Emperor Antoku and the Imperial regalia, to the west; the cloistered emperor Go-Shirakawa defected to Yoshinaka. Go-Shirakawa issued a mandate for Yoshinaka to "join with Yukiie in destroying Munemori and his army". In 1183, Yoshinaka once again sought to gain control of the Minamoto clan by planning an attack on Yoritomo, while pursuing the Taira westward; the Taira set up a temporary Court at Daaifu in the southernmost of Japan's main islands. They were forced out soon afterwards by local revolts instigated by Go-Shirakawa, moved their Court to Yashima.
The Taira were successful in beating off an attack by Yoshinaka's pursuing forces at the Battle of Mizushima. Yoshinaka conspired with Yukiie to seize the capital and the Emperor even establishing a new Court in the north. However, Yukiie revealed these plans to the Emperor. Betrayed by Yukiie, Yoshinaka took command of Kyoto and, at the beginning of 1184, set fire to the Hōjūjidono, taking the Emperor into custody. Minamoto no Yoshitsune arrived soon afterwards with his brother Noriyori and a considerable force, driving Yoshinaka from the city. After fighting his cousins at the bridge over the Uji, Yoshinaka made his final stand at Awazu, in Ōmi Province, he was defeated by Yoshitsune, killed while attempting to flee. As the united Minamoto forces left Kyoto, the Taira began consolidating their position at a number of sites in and around the Inland Sea, their ancestral home territory, they received a number of missives from the Emperor offering that if they surrendered by the seventh day of the second month, the Minamoto could be persuaded to agree to a truce.
This was a farce, as neither the Minamoto nor the Emperor had any intentions of waiting until the eighth day to attack. This tactic offered the Emperor a chance to regain the Rega
Japanese sword mountings
Japanese sword mountings are the various housings and associated fittings that hold the blade of a Japanese sword when it is being worn or stored. Koshirae refers to the ornate mountings of a Japanese sword used when the sword blade is being worn by its owner, whereas the shirasaya is a plain undecorated wooden mounting composed of a saya and tsuka that the sword blade is stored in when not being used. Fuchi: The fuchi is a hilt collar between the tsuka and the tsuba. Habaki: The habaki is a wedge shaped metal collar used to keep the sword from falling out of the saya and to support the fittings below. Kaeshizuno: a hook shaped fitting used to lock the saya to the obi while drawing. Kashira: The kashira is a butt cap on the end of the tsuka. Kōgai: The kōgai is a spike for hair arranging carried sometimes as part of katana-koshirae in another pocket. Koiguchi: The koiguchi is the mouth of the saya or its fitting. Kojiri: The kojiri is the end of the saya or the protective fitting at the end of the saya.
Kozuka: The kozuka is a decorative handle fitting for the kogatana. Kurigata: The kuri-kata is a knob on the side of the saya for attaching the sageo. Mekugi: The mekugi is a small peg for securing the tsuka to the nakago. Menuki: The menuki are ornaments on the tsuka. Mekugi-ana: The mekugi-ana are the holes in the tsuka and nakago for the mekugi. Sageo: The sageo is the cord used to tie saya to the belt/obi when worn. Same-hada: the pattern of the ray skin. Same-kawa: same-kawa is the ray or shark skin wrapping of the tsuka. Saya: The saya is a wooden scabbard for the blade. Seppa: The seppa are washers above and below the tsuba to tighten the fittings. Shitodome: an accent on the kurikata for aesthetic purposes. Tsuba: The tsuba is a hand guard. Tsuka: The tsuka is the hilt or handle. Tsuka-maki: the art of wrapping the tsuka, including the most common hineri maki and katate maki. Tsuka-ito: Tsuka-ito the wrap of the tsuka, traditionally silk but today most in cotton and sometimes leather. Wari-bashi: metal chop-sticks fit in a pocket on the saya.
A shirasaya, "white scabbard", is a plain wooden Japanese sword consisting of a saya and tsuka, traditionally made of nurizaya wood and used when a blade was not expected to see use for some time and needed to be stored. They were externally featureless save for the needed mekugi-ana to secure the nakago, though sometimes sayagaki was present; the need for specialized storage is because prolonged koshirae mounting harmed the blade, owing to factors such as the lacquered wood retaining moisture and encouraging corrosion. Such mountings are not intended for actual combat, as the lack of a tsuba and proper handle wrappings were deleterious. However, there have been loosely similar "hidden" mountings, such as the shikomizue. Many blades dating back to earlier Japanese history are today sold in such a format, along with modern-day reproductions; the word koshirae is derived from the verb koshiraeru, no longer used in current speech. More "tsukuru" is used in its place with both words meaning to "make, manufacture."
A more accurate word is tōsō, meaning sword-furniture, where tōsōgu are the parts of the mounting in general, "kanagu" stands for those made of metal. Gaisō are the "outer" mountings, as opposed to the "body" of the sword. A koshirae should be presented with the tsuka to the left in times of peace with the reason being that you cannot unsheathe the sword this way. During the Edo period, many formalized rules were put into place: in times of war the hilt should be presented to the right allowing the sword to be unsheathed. Koshirae were meant not only for functional but for aesthetic purposes using a family mon for identification; the tachi style koshirae is the primary style of mounting used for the tachi, where the sword is suspended edge-down from two hangers attached to the obi. The hilt had a stronger curvature than the blade, continuing the classic tachi increase in curvature going from the tip to the hilt; the hilt was secured with two pegs, as compared to one peg for shorter blades including uchigatana and katana.
The tachi style koshirae preceded the uchigatana style koshirae. The uchigatana style koshirae is the most known koshirae and it is what is most associated with a samurai sword. Swords mounted in this manner are worn with the cutting edge up as opposed to the tachi mounting, in which the sword is worn with the cutting edge down; the han-dachi koshirae was worn katana-style but included some tachi related fittings such as a kabuto-gane instead of a kashira. The aikuchi is a form of mounting for small Japanese swords in which the tsuka and the saya meet without a tsuba between them. Used on the koshigatana to facilitate close wearing with armour, it became a fashionable upper-class mounting style for a tantō (literally, "small
A tantō is one of the traditionally made Japanese swords that were worn by the samurai class of feudal Japan. The tantō dates to the Heian period, when it was used as a weapon but evolved in design over the years to become more ornate. Tantō were used in traditional martial arts; the term has seen a resurgence in the West since the 1980s as a point style of modern tactical knives, designed for piercing or stabbing. The tantō is a knife; the blade double edged with a length between 15 and 30 cm. The tantō was designed as a stabbing weapon, but the edge can be used for slashing as well. Tantō are forged in hira-zukuri style, meaning that their sides have no ridge line and are nearly flat, unlike the shinogi-zukuri structure of a katana; some tantō have thick cross-sections for armor-piercing duty, are called yoroi toshi. Tantō were carried by samurai, as commoners did not wear them. Women sometimes carried a small tantō called a kaiken in their obi for self-defense. Tantō were sometimes worn as the shōtō in place of a wakizashi in a daishō on the battlefield.
Before the advent of the wakizashi/tantō combination, it was common for a samurai to carry a tachi and a tantō as opposed to a katana and a wakizashi. It has been noted that the tachi would be paired with a tantō and the uchigatana would be paired with another shorter uchigatana. With the advent of the katana, the wakizashi was chosen by samurai as the short sword over the tantō. Kanzan Satō in his book The Japanese sword notes that there did not seem to be any particular need for the wakizashi and suggests that the wakizashi may have become more popular than the tantō due to the wakizashi being more suited for indoor fighting, he mentions the custom of leaving the katana at the door of a castle or palace when entering while continuing to wear the wakizashi inside. The production of swords in Japan is divided into specific time periods: Jokoto Koto Shinto Shinshinto Gendaito Shinsakuto The tantō was invented partway through the Heian period. With the beginning of the Kamakura period, tantō were forged to be more aesthetically pleasing, hira and uchi-sori tantō becoming the most popular styles.
Near the middle of the Kamakura period, more tantō artisans were seen, increasing the abundance of the weapon, the kanmuri-otoshi style became prevalent in the cities of Kyoto and Yamato. Because of the style introduced by the tachi in the late Kamakura period, tantō began to be forged longer and wider; the introduction of the Hachiman faith became visible in the carvings in the hilts around this time. The hamon is similar to that of the tachi, except for the absence of choji-midare, nioi and utsuri. Gunomi-midare and suguha are found to have taken its place. During the era of the Northern and Southern Courts, the tantō were forged to be up to forty centimeters as opposed to the normal one shaku length; the blades became thinner between the uri and the omote, wider between the ha and mune. At this point in time, two styles of hamon were prevalent: the older style, subtle and artistic, the newer, more popular style. With the beginning of the Muromachi period, constant fighting caused the mass production of blades, meaning that with higher demand, lower-quality blades were manufactured.
Blades that were custom-forged still were of exceptional quality, but the average blade suffered greatly. As the end of the period neared, the average blade narrowed and the curvature shallowed. Two hundred fifty years of peace accompanied the unification of Japan, in which there was little need for blades. In this period, both the katana and wakizashi were invented, taking the place of the tantō and tachi as the most-used pair of weapons, the number of tantō forged was decreased; the only tantō produced during this period of peace were copies of others from earlier eras. There were still a few tantō being forged during this period, the ones that were forged reflected the work of the Kamakura, Nambokucho, or Muromachi eras. Suishinshi Masahide was a main contributor towards the forging of tantō during this age. There are now only prehistoric tantō being used in combat. Many tantō were forged before World War II, due to the restoration of the Emperor to power. Members of the Imperial Court began wearing the set of tachi and tantō once more, the number of tantō in existence increased dramatically.
After World War II, a restriction on sword forging caused tantō manufacture to fall low. American and European interest in Japanese martial arts since the war created a demand for the tantō outside Japan from the 1960s through the present time. Shinogi: This is the most common type of blade geometry for long swords, but tantō made in this form are rare created from cut-down blades when a longer sword has been broken. Shinogi means the central ridge that runs along the length of the blade between the edge bevels and the body of the blade. Hira: A common tantō form with no shinogi, the edge bevels reaching all the way from the edge to the back with no separate flats in between, creating an triangular cross-section, it is common due to the simplicity of its design. Shobu: A common blade type, similar to the shinogi zukuri, except that it lacks a yokote, the distinct